**Update** The submission deadline for RFF 2012 has been extended from June 7th to June 15th!
It’s about time that the future of cinema reflected the future of the world. The second annual Robot Film Festival is gearing up to take NYC by storm on July 14th. While dedicated to showcasing films that feature robotic characters and themes, last year’s RFF included a huge range of movies. Documentaries on lunar explorers, tongue-in-cheek rap videos, heartfelt tales about robot affection – RFF 2011 proved to the world that robot-themed cinema has as much to offer as the film industry as a whole. The 2012 Robot Film Festival looks to be even better. Two headlining films have already been announced: I’m Here by Spike Jonze, and Robot & Frank starring Hollywood legend Frank Langella. And things are just getting started. Aspiring filmmakers can still submit their robot inspired works to RFF 2012 thru
June 7th June 15th. Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of one of the most promising new film festivals in the world.
To get you excited for July 14th, Singularity Hub has gathered a collection of videos for you to watch below, including previews of the two headlining films, and many of last year’s winners. Enjoy!
First, here’s the trailer for Spike Jonze’s I’m Here – A Love Story in an Absolut World. All the eccentric excitement you’ve come to expect from a Jonze film, just with more robots:
The other headlining film, Robot & Frank by Jake Schreier, is a compelling story about the bonds that can develop between man and machine. Frank Langella plays an aging father facing a loss of memory, mental flexibility, and freedom. Is his new live-in robot helper a key to a better life, or a very shiny shackle? Here’s a clip:
Part of what made the inaugural Robot Film Festival so interesting was the variety of films that made it in. Moonrush by Jonathan Minard at Deepseed Media, is a documentary look at the work and vision of William “Red” Whittaker, a world-renowned roboticist with designs on getting automated explorers to the moon. In sharp contrast is the winner of Best Picture 2011: The Machine by Bent Image Lab. A morality play and creation myth wrapped up in the trappings of artificial life, The Machine is a compelling piece of animation. It’s amazing that you can have both documentary and campfire fiction play so well together in the same film festival. Both shorts are available to watch in full below:
Much of what works for the Robot Film Festival is the balance between films that tug on your emotions, and films that expand your mind. In the first category belongs my personal favorite, Chorebot by Greg Omelchuck, available to watch on Vimeo here. Also in the emotional category is Waiting for Name Assignment by Alvaro Gavan, which won an award for best human playing a robot:
In the mind expansion category I would include Absolut Machine: Absolut Quartet by Jon Lieberman and Don Paluska, which shows a group of delightful designed automated instruments. There’s also Operation daVinci by LCSR Robotics (winner of the Audience Award) which showcases the real world daVinci surgical robot:
Finally we have those videos which just sort of fry your mind a bit to watch. Saturn by iStave Creative is visually stunning with a dynamic audio accompaniment that really makes it feel like a trippy music video. It’s also not really safe to view at work – you can watch it here. I’ll end with a film that fries your mind in a completely different way: with brain-twitching groaning and meta-ironic smirking. Me and My Robots by Jay Kila is either the worst or best thing you’ll see from the 2011 Robot Film Festival. You can decide for yourself:
RFF 2012 promises to be even better than the opening year. The headliners are great, the production team is enthusiastic, and the buzz around the web is favorable. If you or someone you know has a robot-themed short film that they want to share with the world, submit now. The
June 7th June 15th deadline is looming. For the rest of us, watching the 2012 Robot Film Festival should be excitement enough. Not sure what you’re doing July 14th, but if I can be in NYC, I know how I’ll be spending my time.
[image credit: RFF 2011/2012]